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Would ” ‘President Mussolini’ Make The Planes Run On Time?”

Mar 9

R.U. Sirius

Everybody is pontificating about Trump’s appeal. I’ll throw in my 2 cents in the context of my choice to have a remix made of “President Mussolini Makes The Planes Run On Time.” Basically, I am (this song title is) precisely right.

Some commentators have danced close to this perception, talking about the authoritarian appeal — and then there’s been a lot of talk about the blatant hostility toward immigrants; the outrageous political incorrectness; the thuggish behavior at his events; the populist economic nationalism; the amusement factor and the miseducation of Americans. (Oh, also the big penis.)

But what I haven’t seen yet (although it’s probably out there somewhere) is anyone noting that Trump is promising to “make the trains run on time.” For those of you in need of a history lesson, this was Mussolini’s 1920s appeal to the messy and dysfunctional Italian nation… that he would make things work — get stuff done … indeed, that he would forcibly make stuff (and people) work.

And that’s the element of Trumps’ message that appeals not just to some Republicans but to Independents and even some liberals -— “You’ll see. It’ll be great. It’ll be yuuuge! They’ll go along with me and they’ll love me.”

Trump supporters fever dream about him being the bull in the establishments’ china shop (he has been that during the campaign). He’ll call bullshit whenever he thinks he sees it (and isn’t most of our politics bullshit, no matter what your leanings are?) He’ll push aside the usual politesse and, in doing that, he’ll also push aside the political class, or bully them into joining in with whatever he wants to get done. He will do this by appealing to people’s anger at the establishment via deep trolling … the namecalling; the contempt; the exposure of their corruptions as witnessed in person by an unapologetic business opportunist (himself).

Trump is appealing to that moment of exasperation that all of us experience when we see what we think is as an obvious need and think… why the hell can’t they just get that done? And in those moments, we may long for a leader who will come along and says… “Get this done. Get it done on time. Get it done within budget” or… ‘You’re Fired!’” Or worse, you won’t just be fired, you’ll be publicly slimed, humiliated and run out of the country by a crazed pitchfork carrying mob.

For the right wing, it’s regulations and unions and corruption that stops us from getting anything done. For liberals and the left, it’s greed, austerity budgeting for social and infrastructure needs, Republican obstructionism and corruption. And while Donald’s narrative leans towards the right wing, he’s flexible. One gets the feeling that he would be happy to crap all over anybody who gets in his way.

Ironically, contrary to the panicky screechings of the right wing that the current president is a radical communist Muslim who has upended our way of living; an underlying visceral reason for Trump’s appeal is that he is the absolute opposite of Obama, a cautious man who measures his words and decision with great subtlety.

Just to be clear, I don’t think a President Trump would succeed in pushing aside resistance and getting stuff done (It’s also worth noting that the stuff he would do if he could would likely be mostly awful.) I think he would face the most divided nation since Lincoln and he would be met by a hurricane of hate from all kinds of legitimate opponents (and deservedly so, for his exploitation of racism and idiocracy),

In fact, I think an actual Trump presidency would implode within months in a tsunami of tragedy and farce. But the appeal to ‘Make The Planes Run On Time’ will likely be picked up by someone with a few less character flaws next time around. And that person will be dangerous indeed.




Original 1982 President Mussolini lyrics

He is the air controller / You are the air / The people are proud of their father / Foreigners beware / He’s got a neutron charge card / He’s a mighty tough customer / He’s the glorious defender of the homeland / He might just play tough with ya

President Mussolini makes the planes run on time/
Oh dig it little Arabella / He’s a strong man / Keep ’em flying

Newspapers scream he’s a winner / Nobody’s saying what’s being won / Actor image — no content / What exactly is being done? ‘ Send a little aid down south just to / Kill a few San Salvador nuns / Down in South Africa on civilized business / Trying to get gold for guns

President Mussolini makes the planes run on time / Oh dig it little Arabella / He’s a strong man / Keep ’em flying

It couldn’t be easier to know just what to do / If you were holding out all the money / Just a-lookin’ for an easy going mechanic of depression / And then to wind up with your teeth against the wire fence / Wind up in the smallest of worlds — crotch to the angriest lips / One deadly little spasm in the B.F. Skinner cancerteria / One deadly little spasm and… what did this money buy?

Keep ’em flying / Keep ’em flying / Keep ’em flying (etc)




Michael J. Ruppert: The LA Cop Who Became the Leading 9/11 Conspiracy Spokesman

Apr 16

I’m sorry to hear of the suicide of Mike Ruppert. I spent a day with him in the L.A. suburbs in 2002 for an article I was assigned to write for Rolling Stone. It was a pretty weird experience, but nothing I wasn’t accustomed to. I liked the guy.

As far as I can remember, the article was killed because I didn’t want to sacrifice the wee bit of my own character or opinionizing that I brought to it. I felt that the article would have been an assault without it, although I’m sure Mike would’ve been upset by it anyway. Still, I’m sad to see the man go. He was off the wall on a lot of things, but he also did some good research. And his lectures…  he would pour sweat. The hardest working man in conspiracy show business. A veritable James Brown of underground gonzo investigative journalism.

Kevin Kelly’s Pro-Surveillance Rap: Passable Futurism but Bad Politics

Mar 14

So original Wired editor Kevin Kelly checks in this week with a Wired article provocatively titled, “Why You Should Embrace Surveillance, Not Fight It.”  The thesis, developed with Kelly’s typical assumption of technological inevitability (he wrote the book What Does Technology Want?), is that total mass tracking is coming anyway, so we should make the choice for “a mutual, transparent kind of ‘coveillance’ that involves watching the watchers.”

It may or may not be true that total surveillance is inevitable.  We rather have it now and I’m among those who push back against it.  As future speculation, Kelly’s piece is just about tolerable, but as contemporary politics it’s horrendous. And it is framed (and it must be framed) in the context of current conditions.

What too many people fail to understand is that the surveillance carried out by the super state (NSA, CIA, Big Capital, etcetera) doesn’t just create unequal transparency. One of its main functions is as a fortress against transparency. With rare exception, the only way we find out anything  about the inner workings of our government or some other powerful institution, whether private or public, that they don’t want us to know, is via whistleblowers and, in many cases, their contacts with the media. And total surveillance is a clear, present and effective form of intimidation as discussed in this report from the Committee to Protect Journalists. 

The underlying mistake in Kelly’s analysis is when he says that we should “think in terms of coveillance” and make a “choice” against the panopticon (and for that coveillance).  We can think anything we like, but power will choose. You’re never going to be able to hone in on data about where Lloyd Blankenfein or John Arnold shopped yesterday; what they’re reading, where they went with their cell phones  ad infinitum.  You are transparent to them. They are not going to be transparent to you.  Ever. And if you have a strategy to make them more transparent, they’re gonna know about it. You’re transparent so they don’t have to be.

Riddle Me This… Another Selfie

Mar 3

Here are some of my favorite interviews with me that are available on the web today.  While it’s generally unfashionable, I like the interview format. For one thing, you get the persons voice unimpeded by any (frequently incorrect) assumptions imposed by the journalist doing the interview. Also, I think it’s sometimes good to have a prompt rather than finding some awkward way of getting to your point.  Sometimes there’s more clarity in the interview than in the essay.

Nevada’s “Ayahuasca Tea Party” Candidate

Feb 27

So here’s this dude, David Lory VanDerBeek, and he’s running for governor of Nevada.  On February 23, he proudly posted a research paper he’d written in college titled Shamanistic Redemption: Entheogenic Intervention.  The piece, in wooden and convoluted prose, makes an argument that psychedelics, and particularly Ayahuasca, hold a special ancient place in the human experience and that, unlike other drugs, they are redemptive and, in fact, a shamanic treatment for addiction.

OK, then. Given the unlikelihood that legal Ayahuasca (he’s for it) will be a popular issue in the upcoming Nevada Gubernatorial campaign, you have to give this fellow points for charming eccentricity (and for liking Ayahuasca!) So who is David Lory VanDerBeek and what sort of politics has his expanded awareness wrought?

Well, in the biographical section of his webpage (Wait… he and his wife look happy, but the kids look either tortured or Children of the Damned), he lets us know right off that he’s not from Kenya. Which he needs to do because Ayahuasca.